Kenya's pace attack, led by Nehemiah Odhiambo, bowled out Afghanistan for a paltry 88 in the first one-day international at the Nairobi Gymkhana Club grounds on Thursday.
The Afghani innings lasted just 27.5 overs after their run chase got off to a miserable start and they never recovered as wickets fell in regular intervals.
Rakep Patel got the early breakthrough when he ran out opener Karim Sadiq, and veteran seamer Thomas Odoyo further restricted their chase when he removed skipper Nawroz Mangal (4) and Mohammed Nabi for a duck in a tight opening spell.
Odhiambo, who took three wickets, first accounted for the Associate Cricket player of Year runner-up Mohammed Shahzad and later returned to mop up the tail.
Earlier former skipper Steve Tikolo top scored for Kenya, who were cruising at 132 for no loss when the dangerous Afghani fast-bowler Hamid Hassan dismissed the opening pair of David Obuya (27) and Seren Waters (28).
Tikolo, who was convinced to return to the side after announcing his retirement, scored a quickfire 57 off 51 balls to push the Kenyan score to 180 in the low-scoring match.
The second game of the three-match series will be played on Saturday.